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Craig Seeman
OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 9, 2013 at 3:26:38 pm

OWC’s Larry O’Connor: the New Mac Pro is Both Disappointing & Exciting
http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/owcs-larry-oconnor-the-new-mac-pro-i...

Interesting article coming from the founder of OWC, a company that sells Mac peripherals and modifications. Sure, we've debated this to death but hearing from a business vested in this provides some insight from that spectrum.

And now we can speculate about:
LO: Well, I won’t confirm or deny anything. But if you look at the hive concept in the Mac Performance guide, well, you just never know. But I can say, we’re going to have some good stuff to match up with this machine. It’s an exciting design. It deserves some exciting accessory products with good looks and exceptional function.



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Dan Stewart
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 9, 2013 at 9:21:14 pm

Interesting.. also I just saw the geekbench scores (maybe I missed it)

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/06/19/apples-new-mac-pro-begins-showing-up-in...

It looks like a 2012 MP running Mavericks will be only marginally slower than the Tube and has the 'extras' we're supposed to dream of for the future..
..and will be at least a thousand dollars cheaper, even with a Titan & a kepler..
Anyone selling??



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Craig Seeman
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 9, 2013 at 9:46:29 pm

[Dan Stewart] "It looks like a 2012 MP running Mavericks will be only marginally slower than the Tube "

That's a very early test (June 19) so I'm not sure how accurate it is or whether all the tests Note the John Poole comments.

Keep in mind software written to take advantage of two GPUs might perform substantially better (but proper comparison might be with 2010(2012) with two AMD 7950 maybe.

Programs like FCPX may take advantage of processor technology in Ivy Bridge that wasn't available in the Westmere processors as well.



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Jason Van Patten
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 9, 2013 at 10:44:04 pm

[Craig Seeman] " Programs like FCPX may take advantage of processor technology in Ivy Bridge that wasn't available in the Westmere processors as well."

It already is: AVX. FCPX takes advantage of Intel's AVX extensions, which is why it seems so much snappier on newer Macbook Pros and iMacs when compared to Westmere-equipped Mac Pros. AVX will be available in the Ivy Bridge Xeons that come in the new Mac Pro.


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Craig Seeman
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 9, 2013 at 11:02:43 pm

[Jason Van Patten] "It already is: AVX. FCPX takes advantage of Intel's AVX extensions"

Apple does note that on their page. This is why Geekbench tests may not be real world practical. When the OS is nearing RC stage and tests are used with software that take advantage of the technology, they'll be meaningful.



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Nicholas Zimmerman
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 9, 2013 at 11:56:01 pm

Not to mention the biggest factor, GeekBench is a CPU intensive test. The new Mac Pro (in it's first iteration at least) is a single socket 12 core processor, versus dual socket 6 cores. Apple's move to a single socket system essentially halved their processing capabilities, but the chips have progressed to the point that they were able to swallow that loss. It's widely believed that the CPU is becoming less important, and the GPU more. I think when weighing the pros & cons, Apple made a very future ready decision.

The biggest perk of the new Mac Pro to me is that they went with AMD instead of Nvidia. This means that developers will have to pay attention to OpenCL, and not just Cuda capable cards. The change is already noticeable, as Resolve 10 and Adobe CC both support OpenCL now.

--------------------------
Avid MC, PPro CS6, FCP7 - wasting away on my SSD.
I just can't quit X.
--------------------------


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Ronny Courtens
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 9:35:27 am

I agree with the assessment that Apple made a good future-proof decision by making the CPU less important while drawing more computing power from the GPUs. That's where we are heading anyway.

As to the choice for AMD: if Apple pushes developers to pay more attention to OpenCL instead of just CUDA that's good for competition. By writing their own software to address the cores of their GPUs NVidia have successfully put themselves in a comfortable position where people need to use their cards if they use software that only relies on CUDA acceleration. And we all know what happens when corporate businesses get in a comfortable position ((-:

Although they have some pretty darn fast cards AMD at this time has a low market share compared to NVidia. When we see that Adobe, Blackmagic and other larger companies now have officially announced they would also add full support for OpenCL (which is getting better all the time) we will have a better competition which is always good for us, the end users. And I would not be surprised if by enforcing this competition Apple got a really good deal for these powerful AMD GPUs they will put in the MacPro. Again this could be a good thing for us.



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David McGavran
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 4:43:46 pm

[Ronny Courtens] "When we see that Adobe, Blackmagic and other larger companies now have officially announced they would also add full support for OpenCL (which is getting better all the time) we will have a better competition which is always good for us, the end users. And I would not be surprised if by enforcing this competition Apple got a really good deal for these powerful AMD GPUs they will put in the MacPro. Again this could be a good thing for us."

Just to be clear :) Adobe is embracing OpenCL. In CS 6 both Premiere Pro and Photoshop added OpenCL support. In Premiere Pro CC we have cross platform support for OpenCL including the entire Mercury GPU engine on Mac and Windows with OpenCL and Cuda. We have presented on our OpenCL support at Siggraph, WWDC and AMD conferences.

Cheers

Dave

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David McGavran, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Senior Engineering Manager Adobe Premiere Pro
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Dan Stewart
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 6:06:11 pm

But the fact remains that even at launch the performance gains for anything but fcpx (and that has yet to be seen) can't possibly justify the price jump over a 2012 with a 2014 gpu & mavericks?
That's even before you have to replace / thunderbodge your existing storages screens & peripherals.
And chuck in 4 drive bays & slots..
Not trying to be a downer but the more I think about the tube the more I realise I'll never use one - a second hand cheesegrater will make sense at launch, let alone a year or two in when those firepros are antiques and we're onto the next chipset- it'll be at least that long before the GPU is king. This seems like the disposable desktop - fcpx manifest as hardware. And I don't use fcpx because I can't - I need some of the things they removed from the software - and now I guess the hardware too. I'd love to love it - hell maybe it's $2k and we're all smiling.



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Craig Seeman
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 6:25:42 pm

[Dan Stewart] "performance gains for anything but fcpx (and that has yet to be seen)"

While we don't know about other software but Apple has announced FCPX update specific to new MacPro.
Grant Petty called it the computer we've been waiting for (or similar) in regards to Resolve 10.

Given WWDC presentation made very specific reference to creative arts software and MacPro, I seriously think Apple's own "Pro" software will take advantage of it.

[Dan Stewart] "That's even before you have to replace / thunderbodge your existing storages screens & peripherals.
And chuck in 4 drive bays & slots.."


On the other hand if you're already using Thunderbolt with MBP or iMac then you save not having to buy any PCIe cards. Plug and Play and move them back and forth between computers.

Consider Foundary porting Mari to the Mac as well (demoed on Tube at WWDC). My hunch is professional GPU assisted software will move to take advantage of it quickly.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 7:41:27 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Consider Foundary porting Mari to the Mac as well (demoed on Tube at WWDC). My hunch is professional GPU assisted software will move to take advantage of it quickly."

And it also gives them an attainable target instead of an endless permutation of dual whatever GPUs, or some sort of substandard hardware config, or other technical odds and ends.

To me, at least logically, this would be a good thing for developers as long as the GPUs carry some juice and OpenCL can be leveraged.

Typical Apple, though. Despite all the recent GPU enhancements in the OS, Apple wasn't very GPU hardware centric, now they will have two as standard.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 9:00:16 pm

[Craig Seeman] "While we don't know about other software but Apple has announced FCPX update specific to new MacPro.
Grant Petty called it the computer we've been waiting for (or similar) in regards to Resolve 10."


Grant said it's the Mac, not computer, we've been waiting for. Which isn't surprising given that the current Mac Pro was last updated in 2010. I'm sure the Mac Pro Tube will be a big step up for Mac-based users but compared to Windows or Linux machines (which support many more GFX cards) it still won't be the fastest kid on the block for running Resolve.




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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 12:59:37 am

How many GPUs do you need in a Resolve suite? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm really curious. How is that measured? Is it the speed of rendering? Is it your ability to play thru complicated grades WITHOUT rendering?

If I walked into the suite of a company grading a sumer blockbuster, how many GPUs are bolted on?



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Walter Soyka
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 1:34:41 am

[Marcus Moore] "How many GPUs do you need in a Resolve suite? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm really curious. How is that measured? Is it the speed of rendering? Is it your ability to play thru complicated grades WITHOUT rendering? "

As you add GPUs, you increase the number of nodes you can play in realtime in a grade.

This is especially important as you go beyond HD to 4K and really ratchet up the processing requirements.


[Marcus Moore] "If I walked into the suite of a company grading a sumer blockbuster, how many GPUs are bolted on?"

On dedicated Mac Resolve systems, it's not uncommon to see a Cubix Expander stuffed with 3 GPUs for processing, with a non-processing GPU for the GUI in one of the Mac Pro's internal slots. (Macs were limited to 4 GPUs until 10.8.3.)

On Linux, you can actually do an Infiniband cluster of multiple systems, each containing multiple GPUs.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 3:51:24 am

Thanks for the info-

What drives the Cubix expander? If there's only one 16x slot on a MacPro tower, where is the bandwidth coming from to drive the eternal GPUs?

In my Google searching, it looks like Cubix will be releasing a TB version (though it's bandwidth will obviously be limited to whatever TB (or TB2 allows).



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Walter Soyka
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 12:53:22 pm

[Marcus Moore] "What drives the Cubix expander? If there's only one 16x slot on a MacPro tower, where is the bandwidth coming from to drive the eternal GPUs?"

Modern Mac Pro systems have two 16x slots and two 4x slots. Both the GPU for the GUI and the expander get 16x slots.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 1:21:43 pm

So everything that goes into a Cubix is sharing one 16x slot? That means you can really only add ONE heavy GPU worth of horsepower, whether it's 1 beefy card, or several mid-range ones- right?

If that's the case, then where is the power discrepancy between a current gen MacPro and the tower? Since the internal GPUs are presumably equivalent to 2 16x slots, and via TB2 you can use an external chassis for up to 8x cards.

I'm I nuts?



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Walter Soyka
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 3:14:07 pm

[Marcus Moore] "So everything that goes into a Cubix is sharing one 16x slot?"

Yes.


[Marcus Moore] "That means you can really only add ONE heavy GPU worth of horsepower, whether it's 1 beefy card, or several mid-range ones- right?"

Not really. Remember the MacBook Air demo with Premiere running on Windows 7 in Bootcamp with an external GPU and RedRocket on Thunderbolt?

The cards don't all need maximum bandwidth (~80 Gbps for PCIe 2.0 16x) all the time. A GPU gets frame and control data, does processing, and returns the finished frame data. It shouldn't require much bandwidth while it's actually processing.

A little back-of-the-napkin math suggests that 80 Gbps can accommodate 324 frames per second of 1920x1080 video, with 4 channels (Resolve's YRGB) at 32 bpc. Bump that up to 4K, that same 16x connection can only accommodate 52 frames per second.

Of course, there's at least some overhead and other factors I'm sure I'm not taking into consideration. I also don't know too much about how Resolve actually works internally, especially about how it divides work across GPUs, so I may be oversimplifying or off the mark entirely.


[Marcus Moore] "If that's the case, then where is the power discrepancy between a current gen MacPro and the tower? Since the internal GPUs are presumably equivalent to 2 16x slots, and via TB2 you can use an external chassis for up to 8x cards."

Right now, there's no support for Thunderbolt-based GPUs on Mac OS (except via the Thunderbolterizer hacked drivers).

If my quick math above is anywhere close, 8x should be fine for HD, but will not likely be sufficient for 4K. Multiple separate 8x controllers might work nicely.

None of these bandwidth worries are a problem at all on Windows or Linux, where you can find supported motherboards with multiple 16x slots for GPUs.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 12, 2013 at 1:24:46 am

Thanks for the explanation. I've read it thru twice now and believe i get the gist, as the amish say.

So it's up to Apple to support external GPUs via TB. It will be interesting to see if they do, with big companies like Magma already building chassis they advertise can be switched to TB2 when it's released.

With TB2 really just a rejiggered orientation of TB1's data rate, I wonder what the next step for Thunderbolt is. Will it be a doubling- or is the next step to go right to the optical orientation with its 100GB/s data rate.



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Jason Van Patten
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 6:42:28 pm

[Dan Stewart] "Not trying to be a downer but the more I think about the tube the more I realise I'll never use one - a second hand cheesegrater will make sense at launch, let alone a year or two in when those firepros are antiques"

If you're editing in FCPX, it may make sense to consider another alternative, and that's a Hack. The specific reason why I'm suggesting it is the availability of Intel's AVX, as I'd mentioned previously. You'll never have access to those on the 'old' Mac Pros. But any Intel chip Sandy Bridge and newer will have the extensions available.

FCPX can and does use those.

As I wrote on another FCPX forum: I did a homemade benchmark the other day with FCPX on 2 different Macs. One is a heavily modified Mac Pro 5,1 with 2 6-core x5690 (3.46GHz) Westmere chips, a flashed GTX570, 48G of RAM, and a bunch of media RAID'd together. The second: a stock 2012 Macbook Pro Retina with a 2.6GHz chip and 16G of RAM. The test: export my 20-minute AVCHD video out to 720p h.264 MP4. If t=20 minutes, the Mac Pro took 2t to complete the tasks. The laptop? It did it in time t. Literally half the time of the Mac Pro. And I'd accidentally disabled the nVidia GPU in the laptop during the test, as well.

From a pure CPU-brute perspective, the Mac Pro will crush the laptop. But clearly something was at play here that made the export in FCPX literally twice as fast as the big monster. I'm betting it was AVX.

Now, whether you do a Xeon version akin to the Mac Pros, or stick with the desktop chips is entirely up to you and your budget. Picking the right motherboard and other parts isn't difficult any longer; most of that homework has already been done by other folks. The biggest factor at that point is: which video card? Thankfully, with a Hack you're no longer locked into needing an EFI-capable one and can use any PC-based card for which drivers exist.


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Gary Huff
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 9:31:55 pm

[Jason Van Patten] "From a pure CPU-brute perspective, the Mac Pro will crush the laptop. But clearly something was at play here that made the export in FCPX literally twice as fast as the big monster. I'm betting it was AVX."

That's something I've been very interested in: real-world render times. I mean, how much faster *exactly* is the Xeon 12-core going to be against, say, an iMac, for FCPX/Premiere/After Effects renders? If the new Mac Pro is a significant gain over the old one, or over an iMac, that will be something.

But if I'm ultimately not going to gain that much (which could be for a variety of reasons), then perhaps the iMac is the way to go.

I mean, I know on paper the new Mac Pro should be screaming, but I'd like to see some actual numbers for that.


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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 1:00:10 am

I think we're all looking forward to that.



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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 10, 2013 at 7:44:13 pm

[Dan Stewart] "But the fact remains that even at launch the performance gains for anything but fcpx (and that has yet to be seen) can't possibly justify the price jump over a 2012 with a 2014 gpu & mavericks?"

I'm looking for the release performance benchmarks and pricing info you mention but I can't seem to find it...

[Dan Stewart] "That's even before you have to replace / thunderbodge your existing storages screens & peripherals.
And chuck in 4 drive bays & slots.."


There will be some crossover costs for sure, but existing PCIe cards/drives can be ported over to an external chassis if you want. And though I'm sure any 4K display Apple would put out will be lovely (and expensive) who says you have to get new monitors?


[Dan Stewart] "a second hand cheesegrater will make sense at launch, let alone a year or two in when those firepros are antiques and we're onto the next chipset- "

We have no solid info that the FirePros can't be exchanged for newer GPUs later-



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Dan Stewart
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 12:47:06 pm

[Marcus Moore] "I'm looking for the release performance benchmarks and pricing info you mention but I can't seem to find it...
"


Speculation, natch.


[Marcus Moore] "There will be some crossover costs for sure, but existing PCIe cards/drives can be ported over to an external chassis if you want. And though I'm sure any 4K display Apple would put out will be lovely (and expensive) who says you have to get new monitors?"

Yes I guess for a couple of hundred buck convertors & the loss of 2 thunderbolt ports I could carry on as I am..



[Marcus Moore] "We have no solid info that the FirePros can't be exchanged for newer GPUs later-"

Now this one I'm prepared to bet on.. I think you'll be more likely to upgrade your iphone.



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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 11, 2013 at 1:27:47 pm

[Dan Stewart] "Now this one I'm prepared to bet on.. I think you'll be more likely to upgrade your iphone."

I dunno... the breakdown on Apple's site makes it look very user accessible (at the very least for the RAM), and the GPU side there's some VERY obvious screws in the design. The GPUs may not be a standard PCIe configuration, but as long as the MacPro design doesn't change in a year, the next-gen AMD GPUs should fit- even if it's something Apple recommends they do at a store.

I'm obviously not sure, but I don't think the machine is as locked down as you do.



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Marcus Moore
Re: OWC's Larry O'Connor on the New MacPro - MacObserver
on Jul 12, 2013 at 1:43:21 am

I'm wondering. What's the use case for the HDMI 1.4 port on the MacPro?

With ACDs (Retina or not) being handled by the Thunderbolt2 ports, is the intention for the HDMI port to be used for Broadcast Monitoring? Rendering a separate Video I/O box unnecessary?

That is unless you're using Resolve, in which case you'd still need a Blackmagic box, right?



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